Thursday, August 24, 2006
"Human Rights Watch Credibility -- Not So Good", writes David Bernstein at the Volokh Conspiracy. Human Rights Watch's reporting from Lebanon is evidently straight Hezbollah propaganda - crude and (in any other circumstances) almost comic. (Remember Comical Ali?)
You won't be surprised if you have been keeping up with the transformation of Human Rights Watch into one more megaphone for the hard Left. The same thing is happening, unfortunately, at many other "NGO" pressure groups, including Amnesty International, as Bernstein documents.
RightCoast readers won't be surprised about Human Rights Watch. In December 2003 I had spent some time with a senior Human Rights Watch officer in New York, and I was shaken by the experience:
I've met one senior Human Rights Watch officer at several symposia in New York over the past few months, and I was genuinely taken aback at her visceral hatred not only for George Bush (that's to be taken for granted in these circles) but for the US more generally. Over the course of several hours of discussions, touching on a variety of events over many decades, she made it extremely clear that a "human rights problem" (past or present) exists for her only if America can be blamed for it. Quite simply, she has no interest in it if she can't blame America for it -- whether plausibly or, in many cases, utterly implausibly. She blames America first, last, and always. Not exclusively though. She also loathes the state of Israel, and expressed disgust at the existence of a Jewish state -- in any borders.
One knows in the abstract that many "NGOs", especially "human rights organizations", have now been mentally absorbed into the hard and enraged left. It's a worrying thing, given the influence many of these organizations have at the UN and elsewhere. Their influence, in many cases, draws on their past reputations -- deserved or otherwise -- for fairness or at least for being somewhat serious and sane. But many of these groups, Human Rights Watch unfortunately included, are increasingly far from being fair, or serious, or even sane. I would like to think that the grim, almost unhinged zealotry of my Human Rights Watch acquaintance is not the norm in these circles. Then again, I would like to think all sorts of things that, unfortunately, aren't so.